Saturday morning and I spring out of bed as Kirsty wakes me. Using phones to find our way about in the dark we all assemble our things, wash and get dressed and quietly leave the hostel trying not to disturb the other groups staying there. It’s not long until we’re all at the terminal de transportes and on our bus to go to Buena Ventura. Our bus was great- a small mini bus kind of thing and we were all together without any strangers. The road to Buena Ventura was long and windy. It brought us through the mountains where we were concerned about the steep fall into the valley bellow us and also the risky overtaking by our driver.
Finally in Buena Ventura the weather is hot and a sea breeze refreshes us all. Several locals try and entice us into buying hats, sunglasses and local alcohol with disgusting flavours- and I get myself a pair of
genuine ray bans.
The boat ride from Buena Ventura to Ladrilleros is bumpy and exciting. Jay and I nabbed the front seats, and the scenery of the coast as we drove by was spectacular. Huge cliffs, thick rainforest, beautiful beaches, mangrove swamp and also rustic villages where the locals live in houses made by themselves from corrugated iron and wood. Ladrilleros has no roads, just mud trails, and it’s economy is supported by the tourists who come here to go whale watching and experience pacific culture. Our cabins are lovely- comfy beds in a great wooden house that we had all to ourselves.
We all have a quick nap and afterwards have lunch. As with most places it was tricky for Lucy to obtain a vegetarian option and I was laughed at by every person in the restaurant when I clarified that my food came without egg or cheese. We headed down to the beach, and by this point the weather had gotten a little worse. It was a dull day, nevertheless with some hints of sunshine, but the temperature was still warm and the beach was still packed. Jay and Patrick played football with some locals (They won- brilliant!) and Heather and I were first to check out the sea while Lucy and Kirsty looked after our stuff. The water was a perfect temperature, and the huge waves that crashed back and forth were so much fun to play in. The water was a bit dirty, with bits of leaves and stuff in it, but nonetheless we still had a great time jumping over waves and attempting to body surf.
After a while of playing, chatting and enjoying ourselves we retreated to the cabins and all got in the pool. We had some races, attempted to do synchronised swimming and Patrick and Lucy engaged in a water handstand battle.
In the evening Heather and I helped a man build an extra bed for our cabin and then as a group we all sat down for a few drinks. Excited by the novelty of drinking from coconuts the boys opted for a coco-loco (crazy-coconut!) and the girls decided on some piña-coladas. Let me just say I’m glad they gave us extra coconut milk to dilute the coco-loco as it definitely lives up to the loco side of its name.
A group of local children are the nights entertainment, playing traditional music and doing the dances of the pacific region. Some of the bumping and grinding was maybe a bit beyond the years of the chicos and chicas but we loved seeing the brilliant cultural dances and the courtship games they played. After the show it was participation time, and every single one of us was brought up to boogie and party hard like the locals do. Some of the observers actually thought I was local because my dancing was so good.
Afterwards the kids found it hilarious to make us say words like salchicha, chorizo, and sombrero (in reply to ¿Cuántos años tienes?) and loved posing for photos with us.
After a brilliant night we retreated to our beds where we had a pre-bedtime chat and eventually went off to sleep.